Thursday, 22 June 2017

Plenty of ears

We're walking home from school.  As usual, Jeremy is talking constantly on one side of me, and Abigail is keeping up her own monologue on the other.

Me: I really can't listen to both of you at the same time!

Abi: But you have two ears.  Use one ear for me and one ear for Jem Jem.

Me: My ears can hear you, but my brain can't sort out what you're saying!

Abi: Well, use your ears inside that.

Me: I don't think I have any more ears inside that!

Abi: I have a whole museum of ears.

Me: A museum of ears?!  That may be one of the strangest things I've heard all day.

Abi: It's an ear room.  I can hear the wind rustling AND that car driving at the same time.  So you see, I have plenty of ears.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Half term on the boat

We're just back from a lovely half term holiday on board St Hilda.  We went all the way from Beccles to Wroxham and back, and met up with some lovely friends too.

 It's the first time that we've spent four nights on board. Hilda doesn't have a shower, so TheRev and I used expensive ones at marinas and the children stayed grubby until the last day, when we went swimming.  They didn't seem to mind...
Abi enjoyed being tall enough to see out of the hatch! Maybe next year, Jeremy?
 We had mostly warm weather, some blue skies and one torrential downpour.

Jeremy with Nanou's blanket
While the children coloured and cut out almost incessantly in the cabin, I spent my time with my head through the hatch, attempting to get some decent photographs.  TheRev gave me a camera with a super zoom for my birthday last year, and I'm determined to make a well-photographed catalogue of Broads wildlife.

Unfortunately, all the Broads wildlife have got wind of this, and they operate a simple rule.  If they can see the camera, they hide.  Birdsong falls silent.  Even the omnipresent seagulls go to their roosts.  Whenever I am busy doing something essential inside the cabin, however - preventing the children from killing each other, for example, or lighting the gas to make a cup of tea - the skies suddenly fill with marsh harriers which swoop low over the roof of the boat.  Seals and otters swim merrily alongside us.  Grey herons and little egrets pose along the riverbank, flanked by curlews, oyster catchers and avocets.  Reed warblers put on a concert. Kingfishers flash by.  TheRev shouts, "There's a tern out here that has just caught a fish RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!"

This is only the slightest of exaggerations.

Also, TheRev takes a much better picture with my camera than I do.  After all my poor efforts, he captured a marsh harrier hovering above a windmill in a single shot that encapsulates the Broads so well, it ought to be published.  I won't share it here, because it hurts my pride.

We're all a bit sad to be back to school tomorrow.  Roll on the summer holidays!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Where have I been?

This is one of those shamefaced blog posts.  I don't know whether anyone really follows this blog any more, but if you do, then I apologise that I haven't written in it for eight months.  Where have I been?

I've been setting up a new, working-life blog for most of my writing, because bits of writing-related stuff here that I wanted to share more widely were getting muddled up with family-related posts that, while entertaining, were somewhat less professional and relevant.  If you'd like to see or follow that new webpage and blog, it is here:
I've also become a regular on the ACW blog, every second of the month here:

I've been chasing after my children as they grow up far too fast, zooming through stages and phases before I've had a chance to document them properly.

Abigail is now in her final term of year 2.  She continues to be the best seven-year-old storyteller I know, and she sings perfectly in tune, but only when she wants to and not if anyone else is joining in.  She's just started to be interested in the sounds that different letters make, and in trying to write things down.  She gets frustrated, as she only knows half the letters of the alphabet, but she'll get there.
She has gone through some very deep iPad-related interests, especially Minecraft (at which point she was literally living in her very own world, and only those with compatible devices could visit her there) YouTube (wicked Mummy took it off all the screens in the house in the end) and, up to the present, some hideous game starring a small and overly cute panda bear which seems to download a new version of itself every time you complete a game, filling the iPad with the wretched things.  However, at least some of them are genuinely educational, requiring basic letter and number knowledge.  She's clearly learning from it, as despite not officially recognising numbers, she's worked out how to put my passcode in.

Jeremy is about to turn 5 and finish his reception year.  He has asked for a Space-themed party, as he is now heading for NASA levels in knowledge of the solar system.  I prefer this fascination to his previous Paw Patrol one, and we are currently redecorating his bedroom with stars, moons, planets and astronauts everywhere.  For Christmas he was given the Playmobil rocket launchpad, which is the most complicated piece of kit I've ever seen, better suited for scientific demonstrations than playing.  He took it off to Show and Tell and I think gave his classmates some sort of a lecture on how to blow up asteroids.
Second only to space, his other love is anything that goes on a track.  Yesterday, we counted his track-related toys after he asked for yet another one for his birthday.  We found three train-related sets, two car-related sets and had a discussion about whether the marble run should count.

As a family, we now have guinea pigs.  We have guinea pigs in perpetuity, because apparently you have to replace the one that dies or the one that's left will pine away and follow it to the grave.

I will start blogging about family life here again, now that I have put other things into other places.  It just might not be as frequent as I'd like.  I must do it for myself, because reading back over all these posts shows me how much I have already forgotten.